What Are Statutory Declarations

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What Are Statutory Declarations

In many jurisdictions, including Canada and the United States, statutory declarations are commonly employed to allow a person to declare that a statement of facts are true. Much like affidavits, statutory declarations are legally binding. However, unlike affidavits, statutory declarations are usually employed outside of a courtroom setting. Regardless of whether you require an affidavit or statutory declaration, it is offence to make an intentionally false declaration under oath which is punishable by a maximum penalty of four years imprisonment.

Why You Need Statutory Declarations

At times, you are required to provide information or identification documentation to a financial or government institution, whether it be within Canada or internationally. However, if you are unable to physically sign declaring information and providing documentation in person, you may need to execute a statutory declaration.

For example, if you are opening a bank account in a different country and are unable to travel there in person, the bank may need you to sign a statutory declaration verifying your identity, ensuring that you have legal capacity, and confirming that you are not signing under coercion.

Or, if you are applying to be a registered nurse which requires that you meet a certain character standard, you may need to sign a statutory declaration to formally declare that you have not been convicted of a crime. A statutory declaration enables you to formally declare necessary information outside of a courtroom setting.

Who Administers An Oath?

Under section 41 of the Canada Evidence Act, any judge, notary public, justice of the peace, recorder, mayor or commissioner of oaths are legally authorized to receive a solemn declaration. In contrast to affidavits, statutory declarations are not sworn. Rather, they affirmed to be true before a designated official.

The designated official receiving a solemn declaration must ask the deponent: “Do you make this solemn declaration conscientiously believing it to be true and knowing it to be the same force and effect as if made under an oath?”. The deponent must respond in the affirmative before signing the document.

What To Bring To Your Appointment?

In order to have your statutory declaration commissioned or notarized, you must bring:

  • one piece of government issued photo identification;
  • a second piece of identification, either another piece of government issued photo identification, a health card or a major credit card;
  • all the individuals who are signing the document;
  • the documents requiring commissioning or notarizing; and
  • any paperwork relating to the documents including exhibits.

Importantly, you should not sign the documents containing the statutory declaration until your appointment. If the organization requiring you to make a statutory declaration fails to provide you a document to sign, we can draft one for you.

How To Know If You Need A Statutory Declaration?

Typically, a document requiring a statutory declaration will state the phrase “I make this solemn declaration, conscientiously believing it to be true, knowing it to be the same force and effect as if made under an oath”.

Occasionally, we receive calls from clients who require more than a statutory declaration. Common related services include:

  • certificates of independent legal advice;
  • separation, prenuptial or cohabitation agreements;
  • personal guarantees; and
  • out of town property transfer signings.

These services may cost more than a commission because it involves a greater time commitment and heightened liability on the part of your lawyer. If unsure which service you require, give us a call. We happily provide you, at no cost, both a quote and an explanation of the type of service you need.

Types Of Statutory Declarations

Various documents require you to make a statutory declaration, especially if it involves providing information to a financial institution, employer, embassy or government. For example, common documents requiring a declarations include one relating to:

  • identity confirmation;
  • declaration of marital status or common law union for citizenship and immigration applications;
  • applications for government documents, such as a birth certificate;
  • property ownership;
  • professional accreditation including the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons and Alberta College of Optometrists;
  • insurance loss when making a claim from your insurer for lost or stolen property;
  • stolen, damaged or lost passports;
  • sex or gender designation on government documents;
  • sub-contractor’s confirmation that work is substantively complete; and lastly
  • other statutory declarations required by law.

Setting Up An Appointment

Fortunately, if you already have the document that you need sworn, we offer drop in or appointment based services. Booking an appointment, means you save time waiting for someone to meet with you. Generally, that wait, if you drop in, is usually only about 10 minutes. For these services, we bill a flat rate. Please note, these services do not include the provision of legal advice. If you require independent legal advice (ILA), then you require a booked appointment and the cost is slightly higher. Feel free to call to confirm the type of appointment you need, if you require clarity.

Help With Signing Or Drafting Your Statutory Declaration

The notary publics and commissioner of oaths at Kahane Law Office assist clients regularly with signing statutory declarations, or if required, draft one for you. To schedule an appointment call us toll-free at 1-877-225-8817 (or 403-225-8810 locally in Calgary, Alberta), or email us directly here. We also offer same day appointments, walk-ins and mobile services.